Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rock Star's Rainbow: Reader's Guide/Book Club Questions For Discussion

Rock Star’s Rainbow
Reader’s Guide/Book Club Questions For Discussion

  1. What is the significance of the title? How does it relate to the overall theme of the novel?
  2. What are some of the possible interpretations of the frontispiece—Dürer's Melencolia I—and how does it serve as a symbol throughout the book?
  3. How does the preface reflect Kierkegaard’s Either/Or, and how is it reflected throughout the novel?
  4. What is the significance of the dates September 4, June 16, and other numbers in the book? What vistas do they open up?
  5. Some of the “lost” recordings of the Little Bang, mentioned in the preface, will soon be available on the web (please stay tuned--they'll be up within the next few weeks). How does hearing these lost demos add to the richness of the work’s experience?
  6. Our culture is obsessed with celebrity, and even more so with celebrity scandal. Why do you think this is? How is Rook in some ways a stereotypical celebrity, and how do his struggles with fame play out?
  7. This is in part a story of love and family––of Rook, Hula, and Boudicca. Discuss.
  8. Apparently, this book is the work of a renowned entertainment reporter who was thrown out of a plane over Los Angeles. How does the classic technique of the “found manuscript” contribute to this novel as a narrative device? Just who is Aitchkiss Killawathy?
  9. There is quite a collection of characters in the book––some major, some minor. Discuss some of your favorite personalities, and describe what they add to the work as a whole.
  10.  The quixotic adventure journeys from LA, to Amsterdam, to India, and back. Discuss the various settings of the novel and elaborate upon how they are important to the book’s structure.
  11. This novel is in part a pastiche, paying homage to elements of Don Quixote, Either/Or, Ulysses, Satyricon, Crime and Punishment, and other works. Explain the connections. Also, you might wish to read through the allusions page on the book’s website. How does understanding all the references help contribute to the enjoyment of the book?
  12. How do some of the links to physics (Heisenberg, quarks, fine-structure constant, etc.) impact the meaning of the book? How do they relate to the ongoing search for that elusive metaphorical rainbow?
  13. From the far-fetched plot to the bizarre characters, this work is in part a satire. What is it satirizing, and how effective is it in achieving its goal?
  14. Is the violence and sex contained in the book gratuitous, or is it a necessary part of the satire/pastiche?
  15. Using critical theory, view the novel through various lenses. How do they alter interpretation? (For those who prefer a pdf version of these questions, please visit here, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to download.)                                                                                                                                                   

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